At first glance, you might think the word “codependency” refers to a good thing. After all, two people in a healthy relationship should be able to depend on one another for affection and support. However, codependency is defined as a relationship in which one or both of the people involved are so dependent on the other that they are unable to function independently.
In a codependent relationship, usually, one person in the relationship is submissive and won’t make decisions for themselves and the other is dominant and receives some sort of satisfaction out of controlling the other.
In short, codependency in a relationship is not healthy.
Five signs of codependency in a relationship
Codependency can develop slowly in a relationship. Often, neither party sees it coming if they’re not actively staying aware of their mental health and the health of the relationship. If you’re feeling stressed in your relationship and don’t know why or if you want to simply be aware of the signs of codependency so to avoid it in the future, here are the signs you need to look out for that indicate you’re in a codependent relationship:
- Your life revolves around your partner — You frequently cancel plans or put off pursuing your own interests solely to support the interests of your partner.
- You feel unworthy — You frequently feel as though you aren’t good enough, no matter what you try. In some relationships, the partner’s words and actions may lead to the development of these feelings. In others, the feeling of low worth is self-imposed.
- You hide your feelings — You frequently smile and act as though everything is OK when deep inside you feel sad, hurt, angry or isolated. You always put your partner’s feelings before your own without expressing yourself.
- You feel trapped — You feel as though you’d be happier if you were not involved in the relationship. You are afraid to step out of the relationship for fear of hurting your partner or for fear of not knowing what to do outside of it.
- You’re a fixer — You are the only one in the relationship who works to make the relationship happy or stable. You make sacrifices, but your partner doesn’t. You support addictive and abusive behaviors in your partner in exchange for their commitment or love.
Do you feel as though any of these signs apply to you? Do they apply to your partner or someone else you know who’s in an unhealthy relationship? You’re not alone. There is help.
You can take steps to remove codependency in your relationship. Professional counseling can help you improve your view of yourself and identify patterns of codependency in your relationship that need to be fixed. Taking care of yourself is never selfish. In fact, it’s the opposite. When you take better care of yourself, you can be a better partner in a relationship or on your own if it’s in your best interest to leave the relationship.
At Unfiltered Radio, we believe in taking care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Join us as we investigate what it means to follow Jesus and take care of our needs and the needs of others.